If you’re involved in the real estate industry, you may have heard the term ESG being thrown around a lot lately. ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance. It refers to the non-financial factors affecting a company’s performance and reputation. In recent years, it went from a fancy buzzword to a critical consideration for real estate professionals who want to stay ahead of the curve and meet the demands of a changing marketplace.
So, in this article, we dive deep into the world of real estate ESG data platforms. These platforms help real estate professionals more accurately track their ESG performance using real-time data. We explore why ESG matters in real estate, how to use these platforms to your advantage, and what data sources and software solutions are currently available.
What is an ESG data platform?
An ESG data platform helps companies manage and report on their ESG green building performance. It collects and organizes data related to sustainability and social responsibility, which can be used for regulatory compliance, or to make informed decisions, reduce risk, and enhance reputation. Real estate companies can also use this data to pursue LEED certification or BREEAM certification.
ESG data platforms manage diverse data sources into a data pipeline and a single data storage with metrics related to energy usage, water consumption, waste generation, and social responsibility. This data can inform decision-making, reduce environmental impact, and enhance reputation. Since ESG usecases often involve reporting publicly or professing to some data, it is important that an ESG platform help with transparency and verification of data. Additionally ESG platforms use analytics and visualization tools to help users understand complex data and identify trends. They can often integrate with other software solutions or OT sources to streamline data collection and reporting.
How can you use it to your advantage?
Real estate professionals can leverage ESG data platforms in multiple ways. These tools help companies collect and analyze ESG data, identify areas for improvement, and reduce risk.
One key benefit of an ESG data platform is to get an overview of your data, your data sources and to know your data quality. With an ESG data platform, you can automate the parts of your data pipeline piece-by-peice until it is completely without manual data entry or manual data processing. Until then, you can understand the quality of your data.
Another advantage of using an ESG data platform is transparent reporting to stakeholders. Investors and tenants increasingly prioritize ESG performance, and accurate reporting builds trust and enhances relationships. ESG data platforms enable users to generate informative and easy-to-understand reports.
Finally, ESG data platforms help reduce risk by identifying potential issues early. By monitoring ESG indicators and using analytics tools, companies can proactively mitigate risks and ensure long-term sustainability.
Why do you need it?
An ESG data platform provides a single, verified source of accurate data about sustainability performance. Instead of collecting data separately for each report, certification, or compliance requirement, it enables companies to gather all the necessary data in one place, and re-use that data across multiple ESG streamlining the reporting process and improving data accuracy.
This centralized location for ESG data also allows companies to improve their data pipeline through automation. Automating data pipelines can reduce lead times, save costs, and improve data quality. Real estate companies can establish an automated data pipeline and platform that ensures data accuracy, as well as integrity, through verification and auditing of data sources and gateways.
Why does ESG matter in real estate?
ESG provides a framework for measuring the sustainability and social responsibility of real estate assets. Since the real estate industry currently causes roughly 40% of global carbon emissions, measuring and improving ESG performance is essential. It gives the data necessary to make informed decisions on how the industry can minimize its negative effects on the environment.
Within the industry, investors and tenants now care about investing in and occupying sustainable and socially responsible properties. Companies prioritizing ESG performance can advertise their results to attract tenants and investors.
Data management for real estate
Data management is crucial for ESG reporting and performance measurement in the real estate industry. It involves collecting ESG data from various sources, storing it in a centralized location, and analyzing and reporting it. This process requires ESG data platforms and building management systems to monitor energy usage, waste management, and other ESG indicators in real time.
What are the data sources for ESG data?
To effectively manage ESG risks and opportunities, real estate agencies need to gather and analyze technical, financial, and administrative data from all parts of the organization.
This data can be obtained through smart building technology, sensors, and third-party data providers. Additionally, administrative data such as employee turnover and office supply purchases can provide insights into the social and governance aspects of ESG.
By engaging with stakeholders and using ESG rating agencies like GRESB, real estate agencies can collect valuable data on ESG performance and benchmark themselves against peers in the industry.
What is GRESB used for?
GRESB, or Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, is a performance measure for ESG factors in real estate investments. It enables real estate companies to assess their sustainability practices and compare their performance with peers. GRESB provides a standardized framework for evaluating sustainability performance and helps investors decide which companies to invest in based on their ESG performance.
List of ESG management software
As ESG grew more popular within the real estate industry throughout recent years, competition in the ESG management software space also grew. Nowadays, real estate companies can choose from a wide range of ESG management software to find one that fits their specific needs. Here are three different options currently leading the ESG management industry:
- Measurabl: With an advisory service and a cloud based ESG platform for real estate, Measurabl helps real estate companies collect, manage, and report on their sustainability data. It provides real-time sustainability metrics, automated data verification, and customizable reporting features.
- Sustainalytics: As an ESG research and ratings company, Sustainalytics provides real estate companies with a range of sustainability-related data, insights, and analysis. The platform includes a variety of tools to help real estate companies improve their sustainability performance and manage their ESG risks.
- Conservice: Formerly known as Goby, Conservice ESG is part of Utility aggregator Conservice and focuses on bringing intelligence to its ESG platform. It seeks to automate processes to simplify the management of sustainability data and ESG reporting.
- ProptechOS Certify: Using ProptechOS as the backbone, Certify collects, stores and report ESG data for Commercial Real Estate companies. With Certify, ESG data can be used in combination with e.g. BMS data to help guide decisions on where and how to invest in improvements. Except having automated data quality assurance, Certify support automated reporting for USGBC LEED and GRESB.
Benefits of reporting software
Reporting software helps companies showcase their commitment to ESG improvement and transparency. It provides an auditable method of sharing ESG data through easy-to-understand reporting for stakeholders and tenants alike. Essentially, it streamlines the entire ESG reporting process by offering the following key benefits:
- Streamlined reporting: Companies can automate data collection, calculation, and reporting, saving time and reducing errors.
- Improved data accuracy: With automated data validation and verification, companies can be confident that their data is accurate and reliable.
- Better decision-making: ESG reporting software can provide real-time insights and analytics, allowing companies to make informed decisions on sustainability and ESG-related issues.
- Enhanced stakeholder engagement: Companies can use ESG reporting software to communicate their sustainability efforts and engage with stakeholders such as investors, customers, and employees.